Bob and His Donkey – A Story of Patience

donkeyHere’s a story I like to refer to often. It’s pretty much my metaphor for everything in life.

Long ago, there was an old, tyrant king who was rich beyond imagination. Having had the ability to obtain anything he desired, he decided the next thing he wanted – no, needed – was to teach his donkey to speak.

His men sought the best writers and poets, the best story tellers and those gifted with artful rhetoric. Try as they may, no one could teach the donkey to speak. Of course, the old king saw this as a huge personal insult and had them all beheaded.

Shortly after, the king decreed that he would pay 50,000 gold pieces to the man (or woman, let’s not be sexist) who could teach his donkey to speak.

Along came Bob. Bob was a strange fellow. In the midst of everyone else’s absolute fear about what the old king would do if no one could figure out how to teach the donkey to speak, Bob made his way up the long path to the castle.

‘BOB!’ they would call. ‘What do you think you’re doing!!! You can’t teach a donkey to speak, you idiot!’ they would cry. ‘He’ll have your head!’ they would add.

‘I can, and I will,’ he would reply simply.

Finally, Bob made it up the hill to see the ol’ king.

‘Your majesty, I alone possess the ability to teach your glorious, all knowing donkey how to speak!’ he proclaimed.

Overjoyed, the king threw his old little arms into the air, flailing with delight.

‘I just need some resourcing,’ added Bob.

‘ANYTHING!’ replied the king.

‘I need 50,000 gold pieces per year to sustain myself during this difficult journey. Is that alright with you?’

‘Of course! I promise you 50,000 gold pieces per year.’

‘Also, your majesty. This glorious donkey of yours will need the utmost care during this time. I require 50,000 gold pieces for the donkey a year as well.’

‘Anything!! 100,000 gold pieces between you and the donkey every year until the donkey learns to speak!!’ exclaimed the giddy old king. ‘How long will this take?’ added the king.

‘50 years, your majesty. For I intend to make this the most talkative, eloquent donkey on the face of the Earth, and as I’m sure you can imagine, this will take time,’ replied Bob.

‘So be it!’

And with that, Bob led the mule back down the castle path and to his humble home. People rushed over to him, asking him why he suddenly did not value the fact that his head was attached to his shoulders with a solid neck – he would never be able to teach the donkey to speak, even if he had 500 years!

‘Well,’ explained Bob. ‘I get 100,000 gold pieces a year for 50 years to teach this thing to speak; more wealth than any one man could ever imagine having. In that time, either I’ll die, the old king will die or the donkey will die.’

Thusly, my friends. Always be patient. Be Bob, no matter what hardships come your way. Either you will die, the tyrant, trouble-causing king will die, or the source of the problem, the donkey, will die. Okay, no one has to die, but something will always give. Remember it will always be okay in the end – if it’s not okay, it’s not the end. Just be patient.


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